How to Make a Tornado Shoebox Diorama

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Things You'll Need

  • Shoe box

  • Craft wire

  • Scissors

  • Wire scissors

  • Gray tulle

  • Craft glue

  • Gray tempera paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Cotton balls

  • Wood chips

Study the shape of a tornado for the diorama.

A diorama provides a simple way to model a snapshot of people, places or weather conditions. Shoe boxes are commonly used for creating dioramas -- they allow you to view a scene from a front angle and sometimes from the sides. If you have a project concerning tornadoes, do not simply create the shape of a tornado. Rather, make a scene in the shoe box by creating a tornado that looks like it is spiraling and moving, as tornadoes actually do.


Step 1

Flip the shoe box so that the side without the lid is facing you and the box is lying lengthwise. Hold the spool of craft wire up against the shoe box, from the bottom to the top. Cut the wire so it's two times the distance from the bottom of the shoe box to the top.

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Step 2

Shape the wire into a spiral to represent the tornado. Use your hands to twist the wire into a medium-size open circle, which leads into smaller and smaller circles as the spiral goes down. You should end up with a cone-shaped spiral that is wide on the top and very narrow on the bottom.

Step 3

Glue the wide top of the wire tornado to the underside of the shoe box ceiling. Spread out the length of the tornado to make it reach the floor once it is glued to the ceiling. Glue the bottom of the tornado to the floor of the shoe box. This is meant to represent the fact that tornadoes extend from thunderstorms in the sky to the ground.


Step 4

Cut gray tulle to the same length as the distance between the top and bottom of the shoe box. Wrap the tulle around the tornado wire following the direction of the wire. Hold the tulle in place on the wire with craft glue. The gray tulle creates a cloudy affect, which is how tornadoes look as they touch down and move.


Step 5

Stretch out cotton balls to flatten them a little bit. Paint them with gray tempera paint and allow them to dry for one hour. Glue the flattened cotton balls to the underside of the shoe box ceiling to make it look like the sky in the diorama is dark, dreary and cloudy.

Step 6

Cut up small pieces of wood chips. Glue them sporadically to the outside of the tornado to make it look like the tornado is picking up debris. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather, flying debris that is thrown around and slams into structures causes the most damage in a tornado storm.


You can also build the tornado out of gray clay by molding the clay into a cone shape that gradually tapers. The clay can be glued into the diorama when dried.


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